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My mind is always in motion. Even when I am sleeping, I am coming up with new ideas or ways to improve upon things I am currently working on. However, I can’t move forward without counting the cost of setting another goal.
Every time I get an idea, I must consider many things. Is it worth it? Will my family be okay with the pursuit? Do I have enough margin in my life to take on the challenge? Do I really want to do this? There are only 24 hours in a day. If you take on another project, something else will be sacrificed. There’s nothing wrong with this but you must go into this venture clearly understanding what’s at stake.
There is a lot more to goal setting than just picking a goal and moving forward. You must be strategic! You need to ensure that you are setting the right goals at the right time so that you can truly be successful. In order to ensure that you are setting the right goals for yourself, answer the following eight questions:
1. Are You Setting Specific and Realistic Goals
It takes a little research to ensure that a goal is realistic. If you’re not sure if something is actually achievable then you’ve either not done enough research or it’s not and you need another goal. Keep your eye out for the time thieves – procrastination and perfectionism. They are first cousins who will rob you of precious time that you could be actually working towards your goal. These two will keep you spinning and you will find that you are accomplishing nothing. Once you’ve set a goal that is indeed realistic, then you need to be specific enough in your description of it so that it’s also easy to take the goal, and work backwards to create a schedule of actions needed to succeed.
2. Are Your Goals Multifaceted?
Focusing on only one part of your life is a bad idea. People live multifaceted lives and need to make goals for all areas of their lives in order to feel successful. You should have goals for the following areas: Spiritual, Relational, Professional, Financial, Personal, and Health. If you focus on any one of these areas alone, something else in your life will suffer. It’s about balance. You want to experience prosperity in every area of your life. If you have a wonderful business and career but your personal life suffers, then no matter how successful you are, you will not feel successful. Something will always feel as if it’s missing from your life if your goals aren’t inclusive. Therefore, make sure your goals include something from each aspect of your life.
3. Does Your Schedule Make Allowances for Your Needs?
Once you create the schedule for yourself to reach each goal that you’ve set, you need to truly consider how representative it is of reality. My husband has diabetes. If you know anything about this disease, it totally changes your lifestyle. We set goals for improving is A1C and this means planning meals accordingly and exercising. I can help my husband preparing healthy meals but I can’t make him exercise. He must make allowances in his own schedule for this. Likewise, if you don’t schedule in the time needed, you won’t succeed because something will always be in your way taking time away from you. It will be very frustrating to practice your schedule because it doesn’t represent reality.
4. How Do You Handle the Failures of Life?
Many times when setting goals and schedules, instead of learning from failure, people give up. Some don’t even try because they are afraid to fail and what others will say about their failure. I have a secret for you…those people have many failures too. And, if they don’t, that means they never really step outside of their comfort zone to take the risk. Honestly, I rather try something and fail than to never had try something at all.
Some time ago, I read a book that talked about going to God for purpose and trusting Him with our lives. At the end of the book, the author told the story of a guy who at the end of his life meets Saint Peter in heaven. Peter was showing him around and they came to a door that had some mystery to it. The guy asked Peter what was behind the door but Peter tried to persuade him to look elsewhere. This guy persisted and Peter reluctantly opened the door to the room. In the room were several boxes. When the guy asked what was in the boxes, Peter was again reluctant to tell him. Once again he persuaded Peter to continue and Peter told him, “These boxes contain all of the things God was trying to do through you but you wouldn’t let Him!”
Whoa! Hearing this hit me hard. That day I decided that I would rather try and fail than not try and wonder. Who knows…maybe I will try and God will do a miracle through me?!?!?
5. Are Your Goals Actually Your Goals or Are They Someone’s Goals for You?
A lot of people set goals that represent what someone else wants instead of what they want. This can really cause a lot of bad feelings and resentment which can derail the best plans for yourself. Now, I’m not telling you to not get advice from people. People have good intentions but they often can manipulate you to get you to do what they want. You must use your intuition and stay true to you. As you set your goals for your life, ask yourself if they’re really what you want for yourself or what someone else wants for you. Ask yourself if you’re okay with any goal you set being for someone else before you embark on your journey.
It’s okay to do things because of someone else, but it’s important that you are honest about that and set some goals for yourself too that don’t involve anyone else’s needs or wants.
6. Are You Checking in Often to Stay on Track?
You not only need long term goals but you need to set short term goals that will allow you to achieve those long term goals. Small victories along the way allow you to feel like you are actually accomplishing something. Creating schedules are very important to the success of reaching any goal in life. To do lists pale in comparison to a well laid out calendar of tasks and activities that get you from where you are now to where you want to be at a specific future date. You may not have time for a daily schedule but you can do a weekly check-up. Noticing a pattern of activity can be helpful in fixing a poorly written schedule as well as staying realistic about whether or not you’re sticking to the plan.
7. Are Your Goals Focused Positively?
When writing a goal it’s important to write them in a positive way, or at least a way that feels positive to you. In the quest to improve your life, try writing down a goal and then changing the words to sound more positive to see if it isn’t more motivating. For instance, “losing weight” seems like a good goal, but for some people it might signify deprivation. So instead, the person might frame the goal as “improving my BMI by 10 points” or “increasing my salary by 25%.”
8. Are You Pursuing Too Many Shiny Objects At One Time?
Just as setting too few goals can be a problem, so can setting too many. Everyone has a personal life and a career life and points in between. If you have set goals in too many areas of life at once, you might tire yourself out and get overwhelmed. Instead pick one personal goal, and one other type of goal to focus on until you reach them, and then you can add more goals as time goes on. You don’t need to do everything today. “Slow and steady win the race” is a good motto to hang on to.
Setting the right goals for yourself takes some thought and consideration. Don’t try to set all your goals in one day – instead, set some goals in different stages and in different areas of your life and give a lot of thought to why you’re making the goal in the first place.
When was the last time you had a goal strategy session?